Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Rebecca Ferguson as the White Queen.
   Maybe because her time is up and she's leaving Los Angeles for another posting, the British Consul-General Dame Barbra Hay took the rare step of turning over her house and garden to Starz TV to throw a party for their new series The White Queen.
   Already shown in Britain, The White Queen is a ten part adaptation of Philippa Gregory's quartet of novels about the Wars of the Roses. The party's guest of honour, mingling with a herd of Starz executives, journalists and showbiz bigwigs, was the White Queen herself, Rebecca Ferguson.
   The 29-year-old Swedish actress, who has numerous sex scenes with Max Irons, who plays Edward 1V,  told me with devastating honesty: "Frankly it would have been boring without any sex scenes because we are telling a love story between two people and they happen to be two people in power, so it's good sex."
  Rebecca, whose mother is English, and who has a perfect English accent, was paying a quick visit to Los Angeles from Budapest, where she is filming Hercules in which she plays a princess. 

  At the party she met Danny Huston and former James Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, the stars of another  TV series, Magic City.
   It wouldn't have been a British party without a mention of the royal baby, and sure enough Dame Barbara proposed a toast to Prince George, saying, “I hope our young prince is not going to live through quite such tumultuous times as Philippa Gregory writes about in her books.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Sacha Baron Cohen
 It was never going to work---Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury in a movie to be produced by Graham King and Robert De Niro over which the remaining members of Queen had creative control. 
Rumours have been buzzing for months that the British actor-comedian, who likes to control his projects, would find the combination too difficult.
Freddie Mercury
 Now comes word that he has walked away, citing "creative differences." Apparently the problems were with the rest of the band who did not like Sacha's flaws-and-all interpretation of their former leader, who died  of AIDS in 1991 aged 45.
 Cohen had brought in Peter Morgan to write the script and Oscar winner Tom Hooper, who directed him in Les Miserables, to work on the project. But now he is reportedly pressing ahead with a spy spoof movie he wrote and plans to star in for Paramount Pictures. 

Monday, July 22, 2013


Cashing in: Bookies are taking bets on everything from the baby's birthday to its name and hair colour
Bookmakers were the big winners when Kate,the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Punters had laid hundreds of thousands of pounds on the baby being a girl who would be named Alexandra, Isobel or Isabella.

 Now that the Royal baby turns out to be a boy, bets are on him being named George. Second favourite name is James.

 Bookies took bets on everything from the baby's birthday to its name , weight and hair colour.

The announcement that the Duchess was in labour sent punters to the betting shops, and bookmaker Paddy Power said they took £390,000 in bets in the three hours after the news.

The bookies' nightmare would have been if the baby was a girl with brown hair, weighing between 7lb and 7lb. 15 ozs and named Alexandra.

  When bets on the gender were suspended, odds on it being a girl were at 8/15, and odds on a boy stood at 11/8.Spokesman Joe Crilly said: 'Royal baby betting has been incredibly popular and we were just hoping the young one was not a girl named Alexandra.'

Thursday, July 18, 2013


   Hugh Jackman is currently filming the SEVENTH movie in which he plays Logan the Wolverine, the steel-clawed immortal mutant.
   Which is good news for his wife Deborra, who loves it when he dons his Wolverine outfit. 
  “She kind of likes the bad boys and she doesn’t like the fact she married a guy who was the school captain. That’s not the image she likes,” Jackman told me with a laugh when we talked in New York. “I met her when I was doing a prison drama with tattoos all over my body, a mullet haircut and jacked up from the gym and that’s how she fell in love with me.
    “So it’s fair to say that every time I put the Wolverine outfit on she’s fairly excited."

   The SIXTH movie, The Wolverine, which is awaiting release, takes Logan to Japan. "It's visually different and the tone is different too," says Jackman. "There are lots of battles but the greatest battle of all is the one within Logan between being a monster and becoming a human being."
  The seventh in the long-running series,  X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is currently filming in Montreal, sees the original X-Men cast reunited as they have to travel in time to change a major historical event. "It's a great reunion," says Jackman.     


Monday, July 15, 2013


Johnny Depp's career as a Hollywood A-lister pulling in $20 million a movie could hang on the performance of his next movie, the science-fiction thriller Transcendence.
   Following the belly-flop of The Lone Ranger on the heels of other Depp-starring disasters such as The Tourist, The Rum Diaries and Dark Shadows, studio executives are starting to question whether he is worth the money he is being paid.  
   With a production budget of $215 million before marketing costs, The Disney Co is preparing to take a huge John Carter-sized loss on The Lone Ranger.
   Early on Disney pulled the plug on "The Lone Ranger," only to resuscitate it when the budget was reduced from $250 million.
"Disney knew it was a mistake, they knew it was a risk," said Jeff Bice, analyst at Exhibitor Relations. But the lure of Depp's past success with producer Jerry Bruckheimer prevailed.   For now Disney is keeping faith with Depp in the hope that he can help recoup their money with the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean which is due to begin filming soon. The four previous "Pirates" films have generated more than $3.7 billion but observers are wondering whether the fifth episode can still seem fresh and whether Depp bizarre performance as the fey Capt. Jack Sparrow is wearing a bit thin.
  And Transcendence, while likely to attract computer geeks and science-fiction fans, could have limited appeal to others, with Depp portraying a computer scientist working with his wife, played by Rebecca Hall,towards a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain. [1]

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Steven Spielberg must know what he's doing. After all, he's been nominated for 12 Oscars and won three. But at the age of 66 the veteran filmmaker, who has produced 140 projects, directed 51 and written 21, seems to be running out of ideas.
 Consider the next two movies he is planning for DreamWorks, both remakes, not of obscure films that could use an update and the Spielberg touch, but two genuine classics in their own right.
 First, 1940's Rebecca. It won two Oscars, for best picture and best cinematography and was masterfully directed by Alfred Hitchcock with a starry cast that included Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders. It would be difficult if not impossible to improve on the orginal and Spielberg should take note of the fact that Rebecca has spawned at least six movies, TV movies and series, none of which was successful.
Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath
  Then there is his other planned remake, if anything even more puzzling. The Grapes of Wrath, also made in 1940, remains one of the best movies ever to come out of the Fox studios. Directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, it was nominated for seven Oscars, winning two, for Ford for best director and Jane Darwell for best supporting actress. 
 Like Rebecca it spawned a number of sequels, remakes and TV series, most of which flopped. But Spielberg is determined to put his own stamp on it and is negotiating with John Steinbeck’s estate to acquire the rights to the story, that follows the Joads, a poor family who move west after drought and economic instability force them to leave their Oklahoma farm.
 Maybe Spielberg
should go back to directing small original movies such as Duel---still, in my opinion, his best---or producing TV extravaganzas like Steven King's Under the Dome which got off to a flying start on ABC.  


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...